Dog days explained
The "Dog Days of Summer" are here, the hottest, most sultry days of the year. But to discover where the phrase came from we need only to turn toward the stars.
Dog Days originated centuries ago with several ancient cultures, including the Romans, who called these days "caniculares dies" or "days of the dogs" after Sirius, the dog star, in the constellation of Canis Major. They recognized that during these summer days two of the brightest objects shared the sky - the sun and Sirius - and thought that Sirius, because it was so bright, added its heat and light to that of the sun causing the oppressive heat often associated with this part of the season. Sadly, many of these ancient cultures used to sacrifice a brown dog at the beginning of these dog days, hoping to relieve the scorching heat by appeasing the rage of Sirius.
Now rising later in the year, Sirius no longer marks the hottest part of the summer
Many people believe that the term refers to the laziness of dogs during these hottest days of summer. Dog days of summer is also used to describe a slow time for the stock market where poorly performing stocks with little potential are frequently known as "dogs".
Despite some of the negative connotations regarding the phrase, the dog days of summer is considered by some people to be the coolest time on the Vineyard.
Photographer Lisa Vanderhoop publishes Vineyard Seadogs Calendar. Available at Bunch of Grapes, Rainy Day, Good Dog Goods, Bowl and Board, Edgartown Books, Alley's, Cronigs, Craftworks, Menemsha Market, SBS, and the Aquinnah Shop. $16. 508-645-3201